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    Scott Hillman reviewed Sycamore Canyon to Sandstone Peak

    7 months ago

    This is an interesting "you did it hike". Its possible to go from the ocean at Sycamore Canyon to Sandestone Peak the highest peakin the Santa Monica Mountains...which is not that high of a range (3111 feet, compared to say Mount San Antonio's 10,064 which is 3 times as tall). The Santa Monica range as a whole is rather slight. But it is a neat kind of thing to say you did, and the one real place in the area where you can do that.

    Its also not a bad hike-while its not technically challenging, its got a pretty good elevation gain especially for the pace. At about 22 miles its similar length to Mt. Whitney and may not be a bad test for people who want to practice working on that in a day. It also got a lot of really amazing views from Thousand Oaks to Santa Barabars, passes deep cut valleys, and quite a lot if fascinating sandstone features, and some neat forested tracks.

    The hike stars in Sycamore canyon in Pt Mugu state park, which has both Camp Grounds and a nice day park (both of which has fees). If you want there is path underneath a bride that goes to a small short beach thats never the less very pretty-good place to touch the ocean if that's what to do.

    The camp ground is maybe a quarter of mile long which you have to walk through(theres a small side trail) before you reach the first big trail-Sycamore canyon trail, a long fire road up the mountain

    Which is mostly flat-but pretty. You pass several Creek crossing which is the main challenge, but recently unless there is heavy rains the water that actually crosses them is little to none here. you pass through Chapprel Wilderness-if you come in the winter and spring, it can be very green if not lush, passing oaks, and sycamore. The valley is maybe a quarter mile wide at most spots with gentle slopes on either side, and in the early morning(when i would recommend starting off if your going 22 miles) there is away the shadows give it a shaded translucence.

    However about 1.1 miles in-you come to the first decision. There is a fork in the road. You can either go to the west down the Seranno valley trail, or go up 3.9 miles to the Boney trails.
    Both meet eventually. Overall the Serano valley route is about a half mile longer. Will briefly go over them seperatly.

    On one stage continue hike up Sycamore canyon about 3.9 miles, which is largely the same as before. If your hiking for time in 22 miles this is an easy portion to make it, as there isn't much stoping you from doing it almost as a run if your so incline or a really brisk power walk. There is a couple more divits in stream, and the occasional distraction of some of Southern California many wild parrots, but this is pretty damm easy.

    Eventually you meet the Boney trail going south(its scottish). There is some confusion in naming here. Fairly recently the Park Services created the Backbone Trail, which this is a section of-but some of the signs and the people seem to be a big confused on what the name is now-but its not that complicated. Its the second trail to your right to the south (there is a third trail even further up at blue canyon but for those doing this as a day hike i leave this to the crazy, though its not harder just longer)

    The boney trail goes up with a single modest switch back up the side of a not to big hill to a ridgeline facing the Boney Wilderness-which maybe does look abit like the Scottish moors-particulary again in winter. You follow the side of the hill through a couple of small dips and turns sometimes out in the open sometime going through shorts bits of chapprel for about 1.2 miles until you hit the connecting path to the serano valley trail which comes of the top of the hill

    The alternative Serrano valley is probably more scenic. it trails up the side canyon down a smaller trail for about a mile going gradually up hill along a creek that usually has water, to a more pronounced oak forest hiking gradually and fairly modestly up along the path of the stream, passing rocks and quick turns and a couple of modestly wide river crossings-this is the more technically challenge section of the trail in terms of path finding and following but its never to to tricky. Eventually after about 2.9s you come up the side of the hill to the Serano valley, which is a giant meadow out of a storybook. It probably is one of the more beautiful places in southern California, a big bowl of the valley. up above you, way up above you is Sandstone peak, one of the better places to see it-its tall. Very tall. turn north and hike up a mile up a windy path to meet the Boney Trail.

    Both routes now hike .8 miles which is similar to the boney trail but features a lot of great views of whats in front of you-a big rideline filled with a number of strange odd looking sandstone formations, Tripeaks is the biggest a big weird mass of rock half cracked up, but there a number beside it.
    The trail has a couple of more dips in valleys but not to bad or many as you go up and up ac